Bizmen, consumers call for measures to ensure brownout-free elections

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The Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) has called on the government and the private sector to immediately adopt energy conservation to ensure ample power supply, especially in the next 30 days which may affect the 2022 presidential elections. 

MAP has urged energy stakeholders like distribution utilities, electric cooperatives, as well as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to implement the Interruptible Load Program, especially in locations with increasing power demand. 

ILP is a demand-side management program where major power users are encouraged to use their own generating sets “and collectively reduce electricity drawn from the grid when power interruptions are imminent to ration limited power supply.” 

MAP has also urged the NGCP to contract additional reserve power plants and connect with power plants not yet providing power to the grid.

It has called on the ERC to temporarily suspend the secondary price cap at the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market.

MAP has also called on households, offices, and business levels to implement conservation measures in using the air conditioner units, as well as the use of compact fluorescent lamps and coconut methyl ester-blended diesel fuel for vehicles. 

Meanwhile, consumer welfare group has called on the Department of Energy (DOE), ERC, NGCP, the National Electrification Administration (NEA), power distributors, and power generation companies to come together to ensure no power interruptions would occur during the elections. 

“Incidents of unreliable electricity supply and power outages will undermine the integrity and sanctity of the election process. We live in a democracy, and we believe in the sanctity of the Filipino vote. We have the right and responsibility to elect leaders who will pull us upward towards economic recovery,” national coordinator Nic Satur, Jr. said in a statement.

Based on the DOE’s latest projection, the elections may be sandwiched by six yellow alerts in the Luzon Grid, particularly in the last two weeks of April, and from the last week of May until the third week of June.

However, the DOE is confident that there would be no power interruptions throughout the election period.

Power is crucial not only during the election day itself but also in the transmission and canvassing of votes that follow.

“We are exasperated that after long congressional hearings and finger-pointing between DOE, ERC, and NGCP since last year, there has been no solid contracting for ancillary services by NGCP. With the expected thinning of supply from hydropower plants, what if one or two several majors plants go down during the elections? Can NGCP, DOE, and ERC assure that there is enough supply and enough reserve supply that will save the sanctity of our elections?” Satur added.